Tag Archive | Army wife

Military Mondays: The Harsh Realities of War

I’m one of those spouses who WANTS to know exactly what happens in war.  I don’t know how common that is, because I have heard both sides: needing to know and not wanting to know.  It all depends on personality and your coping style, but my coping style definitely hates being left in the dark.

I’m the Army wife who is attracted like a magnet to the TV when the word “Afghanistan” or “terrorism” is mentioned; I’m the Army wife who watches documentaries like Battleground Afghanistan and Restrepo; I’m the Army wife who would prefer to read a raw, honest saga of a journalist embedded with fighting soldiers, rather than the latest issue of “Military Spouse Magazine.” (Disclaimer: That is not a rip against the magazine, it IS a great resource and I enjoy their articles!)

Furthermore, I don’t just want to know what happens in war generally.  I want to know specifically what is happening to my own soldier.  I know to not pepper him with TOO many questions, but when he opens up about combat (whether it’s about his previous tour or his current one) I listen attentively and soak up every word.  I want a visual picture painted in my head.  I want to know when things get really bad.  But most of all, I want to understand what he is going through.

But that is where I get tripped up and frustrated.  The cold fact is that I will NEVER understand.  No matter how many times he repeats his stories, no matter how deep he may let me look into his soul, I will NEVER GET IT.  Only another veteran can completely understand him.  Only another veteran can look at his eyes and know the pain he’s suffered.  Only another veteran can say, “I get it. I know.”

I DON’T know, and during Mark’s first deployment that especially caused me great anguish because it was a very rough tour.  He was violently engaged with the enemy.  He was knocked out in a rollover accident.  He had to shoot a puppy to death because it might have been rabid.  He looked death in the face numerous times.  Those are things I cannot fathom, even though I wish I could.  There have been times I’ve truly wished I could go to Afghanistan, just so I could understand him better.  In all honesty, if I had the opportunity to travel there as an embedded journalist, I would.  And at one point, I was trying to get a contractor job over there so I could quickly pay off my student loans…but also so I could see a TINY bit of reality.

However, one of the puzzle pieces to being a good military wife is to understand what my role is.  My role is to be his support, his rock, his love.  My role entails being patient, unshakeable, and a good listener.  He may be a warrior in the traditional sense of the word (his name even means “God’s Warrior”), but in my own way, I am a warrior too.  We each have unique warrior qualities that complement each other and give strength where the other is weak.  Even after our military life is over, we will fearlessly face life head-on….together.

Warrior_Wife

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Blue Star Families: Everyone Serves Blog Series Premiere

Blue Star Sticker-Intro

Welcome to the Blue Star Families deployment series!  Every week for the next five months, I and four other military spouse bloggers will be writing about our experiences with the deployment process in conjunction with the e-book Everyone Serves.  I’d first like to give a huge thank you to BSF for accepting me as a blogger and to my Army Wife Network colleagues for letting me know about this opportunity!  I’d also like to give a shout-out to the other military wives participating in this series: Jennifer, Jacey, Julie, and Reda.  Please check out their bios HERE!

Until a few years ago, I never thought I’d be an Army wife.  The military just wasn’t something familiar to me.  I was born and raised near Dallas, was homeschooled until college, and had a serious relationship with my violin, which I’ve played since three years of age.  The violin was my childhood passion, so I made the decision to pursue a degree in violin performance.  I graduated from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in 2009, returning to Texas because I got a desk job.  I got into a normal routine: working at the office, exercising (sometimes), paying my student loans on time, spending time with family and friends, reading, being a news junkie.  I was comfortable and settled….

…until I was introduced to the military.  Mark and I met online in March 2010, and a few weeks later, we met in person for a date.  He drove three hours to meet me, and that in itself was impressive!  However, I also was impressed by his intellect, his passion for our common beliefs, and his dedication to his job as an Army officer.  (Oh yes, small detail – his looks were quite striking as well!)  That first date led to many more, and a few months later, we knew that we had met “the one.”  We were engaged in December 2010, and this month (June 2013) we tied the knot at the courthouse.  Upon his return from deployment, we will have our church wedding and then ride happily into the sunset.

But, as we all know, military life is never that easy.  Deployment inevitably returns.  Lives are in danger.  Stress is a daily visitor.  The word “Afghanistan” pops out in the news like a neon sign.  But yet, we continue to live this life – not just in survival mode, but in thriving mode.  From the beginning of my military journey with Mark, I looked upon it as the biggest adventure of my life, as a unique opportunity to rise to its challenges.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced moments of feeling completely overwhelmed – but at some point, there is a chance to coast down the other side of the mountain.

This, our second deployment, has just begun – and I have to say that saying goodbye the second time around is much harder than the first.  But what is exciting to me is this: I also have the chance to share my experiences so that others won’t feel alone in the tough times.  I have an opportunity to serve my country and fellow military spouses by opening up my heart through the passion I have for writing.  For that, I am truly honored and grateful.

~Malori~

Follow Blue Star Families on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and build a support network so you can keep your family and personal community strong throughout the duration of the entire deployment life cycle.

Please click HERE to read my disclosure statement, in compliance with FTC guidelines.

Army Wife Life

Most of you who read my blog on a regular basis (or know me in real life) probably have known about The Warrior’s deployment. (More on that another day!) After he got his official orders, he had many of his fellow officers and even commanders saying to him, “And WHY are you not getting married before deployment??” He broached the subject with me, we discussed it, and I mulled it over. I had to write out the pros and cons to this plan – and as I found, there were no cons. It was all positive!

So very soon before his deployment, we went to the county clerk’s office, got our marriage license, and made things official with the state! For all legal and military-related purposes, we are married! I want to stress that since we are Catholic, we DO understand and believe that in the eyes of God and the Church, we are still engaged, so living together is still “not kosher.” However, since he will be in Afghanistan for many months (and we will be getting “church married” swiftly after his return) that obviously isn’t possible anyway.

After that, I enrolled in DEERS/Tricare, got my DoD military dependent ID card, and got DoD decals on my car. So at this point, I can *officially* say I am an Army wife! :)

Many civilian friends and family may be shocked by this news (our parents certainly were at first!) but as I began telling my military wife contacts, I got reactions like “Oh yeah, my husband and I did the same thing!” and “I was wondering if you guys would end up doing that!” The Warrior’s co-workers and advisors also heartily approved. It just makes logical sense, and if I can be completely blunt, we did it for two reasons: 1) for financially-beneficial reasons, and 2) so I can be better connected during this deployment.
The financial reasons are numerous: separation pay, higher housing allowance, I can get on Tricare (health insurance), filing 2013 taxes together, etc. We also had the uncomfortable but necessary conversation about what will happen if he does not return from war: since we have been planning on marrying right after he returns, he wanted to make sure that if, God forbid, he is killed in action, that I am taken care of.

Regarding connectedness, those points are numerous as well. The first one that comes to mind is the fact that I am the first point of contact should ANYTHING bad happen to him. It gives me comfort that the military recognizes us as married and that I will know right away if anything is wrong. I also have access to benefits that non-married significant others do not have access to, such as DoD and USAA resources and job opportunities that target military spouses. Right after The Warrior returns, we’ll have our wedding, go on our honeymoon, and almost immediately move to his next assignment (out of state). I will, of course, need a job – so being able to connect with potential employers in that state as a spouse, several months before arriving, will give me the upper hand. And with my student loan debt, this is a VERY smart move.

After I became an Army wife, I began to realize just how expansive this life really is! It even felt overwhelming. However, I am SO glad that I can explore the official side of things now and get a grip on that. After all, learning how to live together and BE married is a huge task in itself, not to mention having a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) thrown into the mix! The less craziness at that time, the better.

So that is what’s been going on in my new Army wife life recently! :) If any of you are having trouble processing what I just told you, think of it this way: when two people get married, there’s the legal side and there’s the religious/ceremonial side. We just decided to separate the two parts, since it behooved our deployment situation!

I don’t want to be long-winded, but I have a couple more things to add. Since getting married, two military-related opportunities happened. First of all, I am the new Blog Assistant for the Army Wife Network! Being part of the core team has already been a fabulous experience and I am so thankful for these ladies. I am also looking forward to spreading the AWN message of positively empowering Army wives! The second opportunity just came up this week, and I am going to be a blogger for the organization Blue Star Families! It is a five month assignment, one post per week, and I will be focusing on everything deployment related. So, since I am gaining more professional visibility in the military wife world, I am going to start using The Warrior’s real (first) name in my posts. Please stay tuned for my first BSF post on Thursday! :)

~Malori~

Military Mondays: Fond Memories, Exciting Future

This year will be one filled with a lot of “lasts.”  The last time to celebrate Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with my maiden name.  The last year to teach my students.  The last time to go on a summer road trip with my family.  The last chances to do fun things around the Dallas area and to see my sister to perform violin in recitals.  Today, as I sat outside with her, my mom, and my grandma eating snow cones, she said, “It sounds like you’re dying!”

Snowcones

I had to laugh because it did sound like that.  And in a way, I will be dying – to my current way of life when I become an Army wife….and I am so excited!

That doesn’t mean I won’t miss things.  I will always keep fond memories of my time in Texas and with my family very close.  But it is almost time to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next one, and honestly, I have been longing (yes, DYING) to turn the page.  I have to give The Warrior major props, because he has been SO much more patient than me.  He has been able to see the big picture, which is why we have waited “so long” to get married.  But it has been the best route and I know our future is that much brighter because of his insistence of being deliberate and detail-oriented.

Today, I thought it would be fun to outline 10 things I will miss, and at the same time, 10 things I am REALLY looking forward to:

THINGS I WILL MISS:

1) My family – parents, brothers, sister, and relatives in the north Texas area

2) The greatest state in the union, TEXAS!  And my hometown, pretty much the best city in Texas. :)

3) Seeing longhorn cattle as I drive along the road

4) Celebrating every holiday and birthday with said family and relatives

5) My co-workers and friends

6) Tex-Mex food

7) Being a delegate to the district and state GOP conventions

8) Texas/southern culture

9) Getting under my sister’s skin by acting annoying

10) Nice amenities in the area: my church, gym, upscale grocery stores, etc.

 

THINGS I AM SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED ABOUT:

1) Being The Warrior’s wife!!! :)

2) Moving all over the country and hopefully the world

3) Getting more plugged in to the military life

4) Paying off my debt and living a debt-free life with The Warrior

5) Not being 3 hours away from The Warrior

6) Having little warriors – I mean, kids ;)

7) Cooking for and creating a home(s) with The Warrior – basically, being the HH6 (Household 6)

8) Making awesome Army wife friends

9) Escaping the awful Texas heat

10) Serving my country as a military wife :)

I love seeing that huge grin of his...can't wait to marry this guy :)

I love seeing that huge grin of his…can’t wait to marry this awesome guy :)

The things I’m looking forward to definitely outshine anything sad that I might experience.  Feelings of sentimentality are normal and okay, but it is important to not let them be overpowering.  There will be challenges in the Army life, but I can’t wait to face life head-on with The Warrior!  We have a wonderful future ahead of us.  :)

~Malori~